“Talk to Me” — Three Words That Can Save a Life
There is nothing quite as tragic as the death of a child. Yet, suicide is preventable. Despite that fact, it remains the leading cause of death among 15 to 24-year-olds. Kids who identify themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual are four times as likely to attempt suicide as their straight peers.
Those alarming statistics led The Trevor Project, a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth, to launch “Talk to Me”. “Talk to Me” is a campaign coinciding with National Suicide Prevention Month to let children know we care about them and are willing to listen without judgement. Research shows that when youth know they can talk to you, they are more likely to feel supported and ask for help when they need it.
On September 27th (for those of you who are losing track of the month, that’s this Thursday), The Trevor Project is encouraging us all to reach out to the children in our lives to make sure they realize they are never alone and that we are always available to talk. By posting sticky notes with life-affirming, positive messages where friends, children and even strangers can find them, you could save a life. With the recognition that many teens find comfort and support with their peers, the “Talk to Me” website has a lot of resources to encourage teens to reach out to other teens.
Although you hear about cases where adults were shocked to hear a child in their community had taken his or her life, there are usually warning signs, including:
- change in eating and sleeping habits
- withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities
- violent actions, rebellious behavior, or running away
- drug and alcohol use
- unusual neglect of personal appearance
- marked personality change
- persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, or a decline in the quality of schoolwork
- frequent complaints about physical symptoms, often related to emotions, such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc.
- loss of interest in pleasurable activities
- not tolerating praise or rewards
Here are a few resources for parents on teen suicide prevention:
- How to Talk to Your Kids About Suicide
- About Teen Suicide
- Resources for Parents from local organization OutYouth
- Understanding Teen Depression
- Teens and Depression
“It is vital that we recognize our own individual ability to help prevent the tragedy of suicide. At The Trevor Project, we are especially concerned about the risks facing young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning, but ‘Talk to Me’ is for all of us: parents, friends, family members, co-workers, teachers, and students. We all have the ability to let another person know that they are not alone and that we genuinely care about their health and well-being,” said Abbe Land, Executive Director & CEO of The Trevor Project.
Land continued, “With the changes and transitions of new school, work, and schedules that occur this time of year, September can be a challenging time for many people. Those challenges can increase risk factors for suicide such as stress, anxiety, and isolation, which is why we recognize September as National Suicide Prevention Month.”
What will you do this Thursday to show the children in your life that you care?